Monday, October 15, 2018


The undesirable collaboration of Lou Reed and Metallica, otherwise known as Loutallica, is an unfortunate combination of already successful but aged musicians at best.. At worst, it’s an awful and uncreative mess, along the likes of an elderly crackpot yelling at his neighbor’s boring garage band.

Upon first glance at the album’s cover, listeners – only eager to hear its content, had they not heard any leaked snippets floating around the Internet – are greeted by a sad and flushed mannequin, a strange foreshadowing as to the effects of listening to the whole album.
The two disc, ten-track album opens with the innocent-enough acoustic guitar of “Brandenburg Gate.” It doesn’t last long, however, as Reed’s shaky but light voice tells us that he will “cut my legs and tits off/when I think of Boris Karloff and Kinski.” Metallica then shreds a mediocre late-‘90s Metallica riff, while vocalist James Hetfield belts out the lyrics with hardly an inkling of confidence whatsoever. So begins the rest of the album.
Lulu’s first single, “The View,” follows the same formula, but has a little more liveliness. Reed’s grumpy old voice tries to catch up to Metallica’s middle-rate contribution. In this track, fans of Metallica might enjoy the guitar solo, which, though short, is the most out-of-place piece to the album (besides “Mistress Dread,” if you can listen through all seven minutes). Prevalent here, and the rest of the album, is the unprofessional transition between Reed’s spoken word and the Metallica-driven chorus, which, infused with dreadful lyrics (“I am the view/I am the table”) drops any credibility the album could muster.
Reed’s admiration of avant-garde poetics is blasted all over Lulu. His croaking spoken-word performance on the album might evoke a sadistic chant practiced by devilish cults, especially over Metallica’s heavy riffs and bass drums. In that sense, Lulu might find itself fitting as an episode in a Heavy Metal movie, but not much else.
Hetfield’s vocals take the right cues from his own history, but then fumble around in a laughable manner. Without reason, he might go from a decent (to his standards) voice to a grumble or from an enraged growl to a cheap scream. His inability to manage his pitch is notably heard on “Cheat on Me,” where his voice cracks in an attempt to reach an impossible falsetto. There’s no reason as to why he does so, which only makes the album more aggravating. The questionable motivation behind anything on the album, or the album itself, for that matter, is an infuriating curiosity.
The redeeming qualities on the album are slim to none. The seasoned musicians behind Lulu should have at least realized this before producing this ridiculous, messy compilation. Has Reed just spewed the rest of his avant-garde sentiments on Metallica’s aging music? Is this some kind of experimental noise and sound project revived by Reed? Or is it simply a joke?
Either way, audiences are surely not going to receive Lulu very well. It’s an unfortunate, but glaring blip for both Lou Reed and Metallica’s respectable and influential careers. Overall, Lulu will forever be known as an embarrassing and unlistenable effort on their behalf.